Sometimes, when an on-track competitor gets ticked off after a perceived slight during a race, a nickname is born.
Sometimes it even sticks.
If that’s the case after Richmond’s race, we might call Ross Chastain “The Wrecking Ball” from now on, although Chastain didn’t seem to enjoy the name very much. Christopher Bell called out Chastain after a three-wide situation on the 0.75-mile track left both Bell and William Byron in tougher spots than they had been in — while Chastain zipped right by.
Needless to say, Bell wasn’t happy.
With just 19 laps remaining in the 400-lap race at Richmond, Chastain had the low line and moved up a tad, forcing the No. 20 (Bell) into the No. 24 (Byron). The chain reaction spun Byron, who had led a race-high 117 laps, to finish 24th in the race. Chastain finished 3rd and Bell salvaged a Top 5 (4th place).
You need to know:
- Bell seemed pretty miffed immediately afterward. “The Wrecking Ball came through,” Bell said about Chastain. “There wasn’t enough room to be three-wide. (Chastain) didn’t do anything, it’s just his M.O. (Interpretation: “His way”. I had to look this up, all this fancy talk” — Editor’s Note). Bell continued: “The No. 24 (Byron) just didn’t get the memo that we were going to be three-wide.” Chastain’s response?: “He can say what he wants, but just like the other guys he walks right by me and doesn’t say anything to me. I don’t think I even touched anybody … if he’s going to call me a Wrecking Ball, I don’t understand.”
- This comes when all three of these drivers are trying to establish themselves as part of the top tier of NASCAR’s top division. Byron is chasing Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott within his own Hendrick Motorsports team camp, and Bell and Chastain have proven they can win races — but can they win championships?
- Keep an eye on situations like this, they could fester in 2023 (and beyond?) and it may be a preview of skirmishes to come in the Cup Series. Little stuff can become big stuff soon.
The Main Characters
Let’s hear from some of the drivers involved:
Ross Chastain didn’t touch the topic:
William Byron took the high road, and he wasn’t even at Sonoma:
In the Stands
Tweeter Carolyn Parker stuck up for Ross Chastain, in a response to the driver:
Brittany|5sos Lover didn’t mince words when it came to Bell, who in turn (see above) put the blame on Chastain.
The account @PikaEthan responded to Bell’s later Tweet giving apologies to Byron
Then, WeAreNascar chimed in with a few of the unofficial rules of NASCAR